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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

The Prayer of Absolution


We ask and entreat Your goodness, O Lover of

Mankind, for Your servants… And my weakness, those

who bow their heads before Your holy glory: Dispense

to us Your mercy and loose every bond of our sins,

and, if we have committed any sin against You

knowingly or unknowingly, or through anguish of

heart, or in deed or word, or from faint-heartedness,

O Master who know the weakness of men, as a good

One and lover of mankind, O God, grant us the

forgiveness of our sins, bless us, purify us, absolve

us… Fill us with Your fear and straighten us for Your

holy good will…


The Priest begins his prayer by mentioning that God breathed into the face of His holy disciples and said to them: Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven… (Jn 20: 22, 23). And that God granted this grace to those who work in Priesthood at all times…


The Priest though doesn't himself utilize this

power of forgiveness; he only asks for this

forgiveness as a prayer…

Only One can use this power–Jesus Christ- who

said to the sinner "your sins are forgiven you." The

Priest only prays and asks God to forgive sins. He

says in the Divine Liturgy "let…be absolved by my

mouth, through Your Holy Spirit"

The Priest prays for those who are bowing

their heads before God's holy glory.

Sin is considered as a pride and insubordination,

so a sinner ought to bow his head with desolation

before God abandoning this pride and rebelliousness,

asking God to forgive him. That is why the Priest

says: those who bow their heads… So, what is he

asking for?

He says: dispense to them Your mercy. And I

too with them as a sinner "Dispense to us Your


God's mercy is the source of forgiveness and not

our worthiness…and so we see that the tax collector

had beat his breast and said "God, be merciful to me

a sinner!" (Lk 18:13). We also pray and say

"According to Your mercy, O Lord, and not according

to our sins".

When the confessor asks forgiveness, he does

that only according to God's mercy. As mentioned in

the Psalm "The Lord is merciful and gracious…He has

not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished

us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are

high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward

those who fear Him" (Ps 103:8-11).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Then the Priest says: loose every bond of our


So he is not only talking about forgiving what's in

the past, moreover he asks that we might become

loosened of what ties us up to sin; sin is considered

as bonds…

There are people who are tied up to sin through

covetousness, as long as a person is attached to it;

he will continue in sin. There is also a person who is

tied up to sin through a habit, he is used to

committing a sin and needs to someone who can

absolve him of the ties which bond him to his bad

habits. Others might be tied up to sin by means of

addiction as smoking, drunkenness and drugs; he

needs to be absolved from the bonds of drugs


Another one might be tied up to sin through a

friendship or an evil company which corrupts good

habits (1 Co 15:33), this needs the interference of

the Divine Grace to loose the bonds which draw him

to these friendships.

Others might be tied up to sin through pride and

the dictates of their evil hearts.

For all those, the Priest, in the Prayer of

Absolution, asks God to loose every bond of their


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Then he says to the Lord: and, if we have

committed any sin against you…

He mentions to the worshippers aloud that all

their sins are considered as sins to God Himself. After

all, a sin is disobeying God and His commandments, it

is against loving God.

The apostle says about that it is "enmity with

God" (Jas 4:4). It is also separation from God, for

"what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?"

(2 Co 6:14)…

That is why David the Prophet said in psalm 51"

Against You, You only, have I sinned,

and done this evil in Your sight"… and when Nathan

Rebuked David, he didn't say "I have sinned against

Bathsheba or her husband Uriah" but he said "I have

sinned against the Lord" (2 S 12:13).

And so the Priest says to God: if we have

committed any sin against You…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

He elaborates and says: knowingly or

unknowingly, or through anguish of heart

We are responsible in front of God for every sin

that we commit whether we know that it is a sin but

our covetousness and habits defeat us, or even if we

are committing it unconsciously, not knowing that it is

a sin. Our ignorance doesn't prohibit sin, it will still be

considered as breaking Gods commandments.

In the old days, sacrifices were offered for sins

which were unintentionally committed (Lv 4:2). Even


in Civil laws, ignorance of law is no excuse for

escaping the penalty of breaking it…

… Or through anguish of heart; if the sin is

committed out of fear or disturbance… Whatever the

reasons are, the sin is a sin, it needs Absolution!

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The Priest then continues his praying and

says about the kinds of sins; or in deed or word,

or from faint-heartedness…

No doubt, the sins which concern deeds are the

most difficult. A sin might start as a thought, but it is

completed by deeds; and at that point it could have

its impact on others either by letting them participate

in committing it, or by harming them …

Sins committed by a word – sins of the tongue –

are not minor sins. The Bible says "For out of the

abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good

man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth

good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure

(which is inside the heart) brings forth evil things. But

I say to you that for every idle word men may speak,

they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.

For by your words you will be justified, and by your

words you will be condemned." (Mt 12:34-37).

So don't ever underestimate a bad word that you


Or from faint-heartedness, which means when

falling off and feeling desperate…

Believe me, and I add to this Absolution the

phrase "or of any kind"… This means that if there are

other kinds of sin, we also ask for Absolution and

forgiveness from them…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Then the Priest says: O Master who knows

the weakness of men, as a good One and lover

of mankind, O God, grant us the forgiveness of

our sins.

At this point- after the Priest had mentioned the

kinds of sins- he stands as an intercessor asking for

forgiveness, he presents what supports his

intercession for them; which is only the weakness of


This was mentioned by David the Prophet in the

Psalm, when he said about God in His kindness "For

He knows our frame; He remembers that we are

dust." (Ps 103:14).

The Priest also prays for the departed also as an

intercessor and says "since they were clothed in flesh

and dwelt in this world", "For no one is pure and

without blemish even though his life on earth be a

single day".

And even on the cross, God prayed for those who

crucified Him and said "Father, forgive them, for they

do not know what they do" (Lk 23:34).

In the Prayer of Absolution, the Priest prays and

mentions not only the weakness of men but also says

that God is the Good One and Lover of mankind. God

loves those who are weak and in His love he forgives

them. God is the Good one who makes good deeds by

forgiving us.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And says: grant us the forgiveness of our

sins. Bless us, purify us, absolve us…

God's forgiveness is a grace that is why it is said;

grant us…

Forgiveness is granted to people so that they can

partake of the Holy Communion with worthiness,

without falling into condemnation.

The Priest asks God for the forgiveness of the

people's sins, for their absolution and also for their

blessing. This blessing is a positive point in the Prayer

of Absolution. Blessing is a wide-ranging word; we

will not go into its details at this point…

The Priest also asks for the purity of their future


He adds "Absolve us and all your people" then

makes the sign of the Cross over the people…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Then He says "Fill us with your fear and

straighten us for Your holy good will"

Fill them with Your fear so that they might live in

purity and blessing in their future lives, the Lord's

fear keeps man from committing sin. Man fears God's

anger and His penalty. He also fears that he might be

separated from God by this sin.

That is why the Bible says "The fear of the Lord is

the beginning of knowledge". It is the beginning of

the road which leads to the love of God. The Lord

says in the book of Jeremiah "I will put My fear in

their hearts so that they will not depart from Me" (Jr


The Priest at this point doesn't only ask that the

Fear of God might be in the hearts of worshippers,

but he also prays that God may fill those hearts with


The Priest says: straighten us for Your holy

good will.

Which means make their lives straight directed to

Your good will, according to Your will. He also says

when blessing the worshippers:

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

But let Your people be in blessing, thousands

of thousands and ten thousand times ten

thousands doing your will. So the blessing is not

just for increasing in number, but most importantly

for fulfilling God's will.

The Lord says in the Sermon at the mountain

"Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord,' shall

enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the

will of My Father in heaven" (Mt 7:21). That is why

the Priest says "straighten us for Your holy good will".

Concluding the Prayer of Absolution, The Priest

thus offers appropriate Glory to God, to Whom is the

glory, the honor, the dominion, the might and


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Have you seen the elements included in the

Prayer of Absolution which the Priest says?

From praying, reminding of God's promises of His

love and goodness… to asking for the forgiveness of

the peoples' sins, for the blessing and for a pure life

dwelling in His fear and according to His holy, good



To benefit from this Absolution, you've got to repent. Forgiveness is not granted but only for those who repented, according to God's warning in (Lk 13:3, 5).

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